Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education




Early Childhood Education

Capstone Instructor

Dr. Kelly Sadlovsky

Second Reader

Prof. S. Wueste


block play, literacy, mathematics, preschool, play centers, symbolic representation


Preschool classrooms often include free play time during the school day. Many studies have been conducted on the common sociodramatic play center, yet less research has observed the importance of block play. However, the block play center can be used to foster literacy and mathematics skills. Similar to other play centers, block play is a social phenomenon where students can develop language skills and vocabulary. Early math skills are supported as students count, sort, classify, and identify blocks. Students must also use spatial awareness and language to place blocks. Furthermore, preschoolers must problem solve and use logical and creative thinking to strengthen block structures. Finally, blocks are representational in that they serve as symbols. By understanding symbolic representation, students are learning that an object or idea can stand for something else, similar to written words. It is important for preschool teachers to develop a strong block play center where students can participate in sustained block play in order to foster reading literacy and mathematics skills.